Cradling her golden-haired daughter in her arms, Susan Tollefsen has experienced the elation of first-time motherhood — at the age of 57.

The arrival of little Freya last week was the conclusion of a remarkable story.

Tollefsen feared the worst when, suspected of suffering ovarian cancer, she was sent for a scan on a growing bump.

She was stunned when the sonographer congratulated her on being nearly 30 weeks pregnant.

The stunning news followed several years of desperate attempts to have a baby using IVF treatment.

The teacher and her partner Nick Mayer, who is 11 years her junior, thought their final hope had been dashed last August when Tollefsen suffered what appeared to be a miscarriage.

But nature had other ideas. Tollefsen was still pregnant and last Tuesday — just nine weeks after that fateful scan — she went in to hospital where Freya was delivered by Caesarean section weighing a healthy 6.73 pounds.

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Two days later, both mother and daughter were so well that doctors allowed them home.

Ms Tollefsen yesterday spoke of her joy at having the daughter she had longed for. "The doctor held her up, I took one look and burst into tears," she said.

She knew her baby had been developing normally but was unable to relax until medical staff checked Freya and told her everything was well.

"It's always in the back of your mind — 'Is everything OK?'," said Tollefsen, who lives in Essex in England.

"I looked at her and she had blonde hair, tiny features, everything was perfect. They put her on my chest and I think I just sat staring at her for a couple of hours," Tollefsen said.

"I was stroking and cuddling her and said to her, 'I've been waiting for you for such a long time, now you have come you really are a little miracle baby'.

"It's amazing to look at her with all her perfect little fingers and toes. You almost can't believe you carry a baby then out comes this perfect little person."

Freya was created using a donor egg and Mayer's sperm and the embryo was implanted at a clinic in Moscow.

Tollefsen said Freya was already proving to be a daddy's girl.

"I think she's got his nose and mouth, and when she sleeps she looks like him. At the hospital they asked him if he wanted to do the first feed and at first he was saying 'My hands are too big', but the nurse left him and when she came back she said he was doing a great job.

"He's being very much a hands-on dad, changing nappies and feeding her."

Tollefsen has admitted she has thought about what will happen when Freya is older. But she will "cross that bridge when we come to it" and feels as healthy and capable as any other mother.

"People have been very supportive. Everyone has said 'What a wonderful story'."